Wearable barcode recognition aids the visually impaired

Technology News |
By Rich Pell

The OrCam MyEye 2.0 can instantly identify tens of thousands of barcodes for a wide range of consumer products. This uses the same artificial vision technology that allows the wearable system to read printed and digital text off of any surface, recognise faces, and identify bank notes in real time.

Shopping can be a particularly challenging and stressful activity for blind and visually impaired people, particularly when the text on product labels is small or hard to identify.

The artificial intelligence software to analyse and communicate visual information through audio. So, when the device detects a barcode on a product it will automatically check if it is in the pre-loaded database, and if a match is made the device tells the user the product name and other important information, for example its weight or if the product is a multipack.

OrCam will continue to expand the existing barcode database so that the OrCam MyEye 2.0 will be able to identify an increasing number and range of products. The new barcode recognition feature has been automatically rolled out to all existing OrCam MyEye 2.0 users through a software update.

OrCam user June Wheeler began to notice her sight was deteriorating when she started to struggle to do her weekly shopping. “As a result of my macular degeneration, I began to find everyday actions, such as placing toothpaste on my toothbrush, increasingly difficult to carry out. Identifying products while shopping, recognizing faces, and reading the newspaper were among a growing number of daily activities with which I had difficulty as my vision deteriorated,” she said. 

“With OrCam MyEye I am now able to buy the correct items in the supermarket and I do not get confused between products as I use my OrCam MyEye to read the labels and make sure I am selecting what I intend to buy,” she said.

The device is completely wireless and magnetically mounts onto the user’s eyeglasses or sunglasses frame and weighs less than an ounce. It is activated by an intuitive pointing gesture, or simply by following the wearer’s gaze, allowing for hands-free use without the need of a smartphone or Wi-Fi.

As all of the operations are processed offline, audio communication of vital visual information happens in real time while ensuring data privacy. Functions such as volume control and reading navigation are performed using a touch pad on the side of the device. 


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